My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by ananta, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    The only reason you're unaware is that your intellect is in a dormant state. Things happen in dreams that scream fakeness!!! People who look like the combination of two real people, things change constantly from one second to the next...etc... How could you not see that it's not real, of course, you would, immediately, the problem is that your mind isn't functioning properly, like when someone is drunk or drugged.
     
  2. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It just seems like, after an ordeal that agonizing, O’Brien acting “normal” in the rest of the series, would lose all credibility…unless they found a way to undo the memory.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  3. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The dichotomy between conscious and unconscious is rather dated. Most contemporary models point to our perceptions of the present as products of intuition, and consciousness is either a momentary attentiveness, a harmonizing of intuitive processes across the brain, or just the feeling of presence. There are varying degrees to which particular psychologists or neuroscientists opine how much we directly experience the world. However, they all agree to some extent that our perceptions (along with emotions and ideas) are "off the shelf," pre-made rather than constructed in the moment.

    Here is the keynote address of the 2020 APS meeting. Buzsaki is considered more hardened in his resolve to do away with older psychological vocabulary, but he is within the mainstream, giving the keynote to the major professional and academic organization in the field. As he puts it, "we no longer need our environment to be present." We capably navigate the world with only a few experiences. (He gives his thesis between minutes 14 and 18. )

    Going back to The Cage, I think it was appropriate that Pike could not will himself out of his false perceptions. He could use anger to interfere with the Talosians manipulation of his perceptions, but he was still dependent on them releasing their control. I don't think there is anymore reason to believe that OBriens mental sentence would have been significantly less debilitating if he could have repeated that it is all in his mind. It's still decades in a mental prison.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  4. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The other question is whether O'Brien had any reason to believe that what he was undergoing was all in his head. For all he knows he was sentenced, then drugged, then woke up in the cell (or what-not, I don't recall whether the episode shows his initial incarceration). Nothing that we see him undergoing during his virtual imprisonment seems especially unrealistic.
     
  5. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Well, let's face it, there's a lot of reset button stuff going on in DS9. When they remember anything it's usually fragmented and... wrong! The relation between Sisko and the wormhole aliens changes constantly, for one thing, the Sisko son of a prophet stuff comes out of left field and is a purely seventh season decision. I've never been a big fan of the religious stuff personally... All the less since in the finale it all becomes mumbo jumbo bullshit... I'll come back tomorrow or last year... yeah sure, whatever you say...:rolleyes:
     
  6. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Btw, if Sisko is the son of a Prophet, wouldn't that make Jake the grandson of a Prophet?
     
  7. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “SHATTERED MIRROR”

    [​IMG]
    “Yes, we DO deserve our very own spin-off series...MAKE IT SO!”

    I suspect a person’s opinion on “Shattered Mirror” will depend entirely on their ability or willingness to tolerate the inherent absurdity of these Mirror Universe outings.

    I have to admit that I can, up to a point. One of the things I actually love about DS9 is its delightfully schizophrenic ability to radically shift gears from episode to episode, knowing that one week might deliver a drama as bleak and uncompromising as “Hard Time” while the next might be a slaptstick caper like “Little Green Men.” As it happens, I consider the original Mirror Universe story, TOS’s “Mirror, Mirror” a classic piece of science-fiction, and found DS9’s “Crossover” a reasonably absorbing, atmospheric and immersive follow-up. Last season’s “Through the Looking Glass” was where the novelty rapidly began to wear off for me, and “Shattered Mirror” is something of an oddity, and a hard episode to rate. I did find it vastly more entertaining than its predecessor (and it doesn’t feature Sisko humping his way through 100% of the show’s female leads!). I must admit I consider it something of a guilty pleasure even if the plot bears absolutely no scrutiny at ALL.

    I wonder if there’s even much point in critiquing “Shattered Mirror” as though it’s entirely meant to make sense? As with many of the Ferengi farces or romps such as “Our Man Bashir”, this is an episode that calls for a significant suspension of disbelief. I mean, while the concept of parallel realities has a scientific basis, a universe populated by cartoon villain versions is simply not something you can take too seriously. I mean, considering the vast differences in the Mirror Universe’s entire political structure and landscape, how is it possible that all the same people came together to create the very same offspring that comprise the Mirror versions of our familiar crew? And what are the chances they’d all largely live in the vicinity of the same station? It makes no sense...and yet, if you’re willing to accept this, and the fact these episodes are unabashed forays into trashy pulp sci-fi, there is definitely entertainment and fun to be had.

    I don’t particularly like the idea that characters can so easily cross between universes by this point. I mean, my initial thought when I saw Jennifer was—has she popped over to borrow a pint of milk because they’re all out on Terok Nor?! Similarly, Sisko really makes some questionable decisions here. What the heck was he thinking introducing Jake to an alternate version of his dead mother? How in the name of the Prophets was THAT ever going to end well? The woman was still a former member of the Alliance and ought to have been under supervised guard the whole time she was on DS9. Was his meeting in Ops really so important that he had to leave the two of them unattended? Sisko’s eventual willingness to help the rebels finish their Defiant was also questionable and surely must piss all over the Prime Directive (although, yeah, these are warp capable people, so maybe that doesn’t apply?). I get the impression Avery Brooks wasn’t much into this episode, as he pretty much phones his performance in and his eye-roll on the bridge of the Defiant seemed a bit of a meta moment to me.

    While I’m at it, the whole idea of the rebels building a replica of the Defiant is all kinds of stupid. I mean, in order to build a ship don’t you need, um...shipyards? Not to mention expert engineers who’ve spent years or decades mastering their craft? Apparently not. It would seem you can build your very own Defiant at home with all the ease of...well, Lego. Also, you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t actually require years of training to pilot and man a state of the art Starfleet warship—not when any old rebel can punch a few buttons and, as the Pakleds would say, “make it go.” Of course, the real reason for this contrivance is budgetary. The producers are limited to what they can and can’t do, and they needed to use existing sets and models.

    However, if you can accept all this silliness, this is actually a hugely entertaining episode. Again, I’m not sure if Avery Brooks was feeling it, but the rest of the cast seem to be having a ball being back in DS9 pantomime mode. Nana Visitor is still utterly scene-stealing as the sex-mad psychopath that is the Intendant (“You executed my wife.” “Isn’t that a coincidence? I was hoping you were single!”), but the real highlight is without doubt Regent Worf and the snivelling Garak. They make for a supremely watchable and utterly hilarious double-act. Some of the exchanges between them are among the biggest laugh out loud moments of any Star Trek episode. The barbs come thick and fast (“You are attempting to shift the blame from yourself!” “Am I succeeding?”) and Michael Dorn and Andrew Robinson are marvellous, both with performances dialled up to eleven. Worf quoting Picard (“Make it so!”) was an absolute scream, as was the scene with the missing key—black comedy without a doubt, but hilariously executed.

    There’s not a lot to the actual plot, but it’s nevertheless one of the most crazily entertaining episodes of the season in all its Star Wars-esque campness. The high point of the episode is an utterly stunning space battle which still pretty much blows my mind some twenty-five years later. I really had no idea they’d have the budget for such a SFX spectacle this late in the season and it remains one of the most exciting and best-executed battle sequences of the entire series.

    The episode’s emotional core is, of course, Ben and Jake, both of whom have quite different takes on the Mirror Jennifer. Jake is besotted with her and wants to spend as much time with her as he can, while Ben is understandably pissed at her for basically using his son to manipulate him into helping the rebels. It’s a fascinating dynamic, although it doesn’t work quite as well as it could have, and I think that may be in part due to Felicia Bell’s performance, which just doesn’t have the depth or nuance necessary to bring the character to life. She’s certainly likeable, but there’s not a whole lot else there; Bell really doesn’t convey any of the grit, determination and deceptiveness the character ought to exhibit. I think Jennifer’s tragic fate was pretty much inevitable, especially given how eager the writers are to dispatch characters in these Mirror Universe romps. But it still has some emotional resonance and makes for an appropriately somber, poignant finale. James Conway directs these scenes beautifully, and his work is stellar throughout. He really goes all out in embracing the madness and spectacle and creates a great sense of pace, atmosphere and energy. In fact, for me, the execution is so good that it really elevates the episode above the limitations of its obvious plot holes.

    Yes, it’s silly. Yup, it’s trashy. Yeah, there are enough plot holes to warp the Regent’s ship through. But, for all its faults, I found this one uproariously entertaining and one of my favourite guilty pleasures of the series. Alas, I just wish this had been our final trip to the Mirror Universe, because DS9’s remaining two visits would be almost unbearably awful. But I’ll worry about those particular turkeys when I come to them. Rating: 7 (probably objectively more a 6, but the comic brilliance of the Worf/Garak scenes warrant no less)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
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  8. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Great review, average episode. There are a few entertaining moments but all in all it was a bit too cartoonish and clchéed for me. Jennifer jumping in front of the phaser blast, for instance, is so chlché, it's boring. "A debt I intend to collect." What I would do if I were Sisko, I'd point a phaser at her and say: "I intended to shoot you twice but because "I owe you" I'll only do it once!"...
     
  9. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Since they made the Ferengi into real characters, they turn to the Mirror Universe when they need overacted comic relief :)
     
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  10. mastadge

    mastadge Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    [​IMG]
    A little thing that would have made a big difference in retrospect would have been if they'd gotten Robert Beltran and Roxann Biggs-Dawson to cameo here instead of this.
     
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  11. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's the episode 's hook, but both writers and actors managed to screw it up.
     
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  12. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I really like the first three DS9 mirror episodes. The last two...also exist.

    *checks prison recidivism rates* Yeah, that works great.

    Is it really hard for you to believe the tech that can implant 20 years of memories can repress any lucid dreaming?
     
  13. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    DS9 is known for its long story arcs, but Ananta’s phrase --“delightfully schizophrenic ability to radically shift gears from episode to episode”--sure rings true here.
    About “Shattered Mirror” Ira Steven Behr said “We’d just come through a couple of very serious episodes and we wanted to have some fun.” I just wish they’d done another holodeck show instead; somehow it’s easier to care about what happens in those, than the MU. And, I agree with Ananta on Felicia Bell, she never really fit that role.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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  14. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “THE MUSE”

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    That awkward moment when your husband-to-be looks better in a wedding dress than you do.

    It’s no doubt a testament to the outstanding episode-to-episode quality of this fourth season that an episode like “The Muse” sticks out like a (very) sore thumb. It may have even seemed average or passable in the first couple of seasons, but having been spoiled by such a strong run of episodes it really does feel like an unfortunate mess. Two completely disconnected storylines are crudely jammed together; one of which is reasonably enjoyable and sweet, while the other is embarrassingly naff. The only overall theme I can discern is (presumably) unintentional and unfortunate: two hypersexual middle-aged women with psychic powers who roam the galaxy on the lookout for prey—in this case, poor, unsuspecting males.

    The Lwaxana plot is rather charming, although it is lightweight, sub-sitcom level fluff. It helps that I’ve always been rather a fan of Majel’s take on the “Auntie Mame of the galaxy”, and I’ve enjoyed the lustre and sparkle she’s brought to the role over the course of nearly a decade. It’s pretty sad that this is Lwaxana’s final appearance on Trek, and Majel’s last on-screen performance. She really deserved a better sendoff than this. This might have made a decent episode if it had been promoted to A-plot and been given more time to develop and expand on the themes. As it is, it feels rushed and a little forced, but there are some wonderful scenes between Odo and Lwaxana—including the heartwarming ‘blanket’ scene in Odo’s quarters which beautifully mirrors the turbolift scene in “The Forsaken”, this time with Odo providing support to Mrs Troi. His portrayal may be uncharacteristically “cutesy” here, but it’s nevertheless lovely seeing Odo let guard down around Lwaxana, and their hide-and-seek scene in his quarters is surprisingly adorable. The wedding ceremony where Odo must declare his feelings for Lwaxana in order to “seal the deal” is unexpectedly poignant and marvellously performed by Rene Auberjonois. He and Barrett shared a wonderful chemistry, and, as I was watching this, it was with great sadness I realised that neither of these two actors are still with us.

    Unfortunately, the plot does seem underdeveloped to me. I find it hard to believe that Lwaxana would marry an obnoxious prick like Jeyal and get knocked up without having any clue as to the most basic Tavnian of social customs. While it’s great to see the great Kang himself, Michael Ansara, he’s sadly wasted in a thankless role. It strains credibility that Jeyal would simply trot off back to his planet and not keep tabs at all on the mother of his child. It’d be fairly easy to find out that she departed the station immediately after the wedding, thus revealing the whole thing as a sham. Nope, it’s best not to think too much about the half-baked plot. At least it’s charming and rather fun to watch. I only wish it hadn’t been Majel’s final episode and had provided more of a sense of closure for the character.

    The episode’s other plot is just wretched and feels like a particularly bad Voyager reject. Meg Foster is undeniably wonderful as the enigmatic and utterly creepy Anaya, but the story bears no scrutiny and the whole “energy vampire” premise is cliched, lame and completely unworthy of the caliber of writing we’ve come to expect on DS9. It’s actually faintly embarrassing to watch as Jake seems oblivious to the fact Anaya is crawling all over in him in orgasmic ecstasy as he manically puts pen to paper. The whole thing seems like some weird fantasy or wish fulfilment on the part of the writers. I also have to say there’s a certain sexism at work. If the character genders were reversed and we’d seen a middle-aged male energy vampire devouring a female teenager it would have been classed as horrifically creepy and wholly inappropriate. And it still is, regardless of gender! The “climatic” search to find Jake and defeat Anaya is woeful on every level. As Sisko angrily fires his phaser (“you’re not getting away that easily!”), Anaya turns to an energy jellyfish and flees the station, and I couldn’t help but feel we’d regressed to TNG season one storytelling—all we needed were a couple of Edo running around in their underwear and having foreplay on the Promenade.

    Fortunately, the final scene, in which Sisko bolsters Jake and provides feedback on his novel, is wonderful. That’s thanks in no small part to the usual chemistry between Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton, and also the unexpected and very welcome call-back to “The Visitor” as we find out that Jake has just written part of his soon-to-be-famous novel “Anselm”. The fact that we get a reprise of Dennis McCarthy’s haunting “The Visitor” theme almost made my eyes well. Also, I have to say, I love Jake’s handwriting. I’m glad I’m not the only person under seventy who writes in cursive. Unfortunately, while these and other moments keep the episode from being as absolute a failure as many claim, it’s still not one I’d recommend. I’d give the Lwaxana story a 6 and the Jake story a 3, which averages at... Rating: 4.5
     
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  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, TNG already did the male energy vampire thing...which you'd think this episode would have taken heed of... :p

    Oh god, it's scary to think that anyone might have thought "We'll do 'Sub-Rosa' the way it should have been done..."

    Wait a tick...
    TOS has a 'female' (salt) vampire.
    TNG has a male vampire. (shudder)
    DS9 has a female vampire.
    VOY has a male vampire. ("Coda"...close enough!)
    ENT...did ENT ever have a vampire?
     
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  16. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    It would numb the intellect and make the whole thing meaningless. I once dreamt that I was talking to my brother who's been dead for ten years, yet in my dream I knew that and saw nothing wrong with it and I AM AN ATHEIST, there is nothing I believe in less than ghosts!!! That's how screwed up you are when you're dreaming!
     
  17. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's something good about this episode? I dislike it so much, I would rather not read about it (I'm sure what you wrote is wonderful, though).
     
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  18. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    @ananta: Great review. However, I didn't like this episode... at all! The Lwaxanna story was embarrassingly stupid. Did you notice that her so-called husband of many months mispronounced her name as "Lawxanna"? This means that they didn't even care enough to redub that part. They didn't have to reshoot the whole scene, just make a name substitution. They knew how to do it back when Hitchock made "North By Northwest", in the original scene Eve Kendall says "I never make love on an empty stomach" and they probably thought that it was too risque and changed it to "I never discuss love..."
    So it's a bit shocking that they didn't bother to change the name in that scene.

    I don't know if the writers thought that the thought vampire was sexy or something but to me it just looked creepy plus with her ugly anti-sexy alien make-up, she didn't look to me like someone I'd like to mess up with my " mental energy" or whatever... So wish fulfillment? Creepy!!!

    Very forgettable episode... Visceral writing my foot... My viscera tell me to say bye-bye to my lunch!!!
     
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  19. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Now you mention it, it does have some passing similarities to “Sub Rosa” —there were caaaaahhhndals, and some psychic orgasms, but thankfully nothing near the level of cringe I felt for Gates McFadden in that episode. Bless her heart, she gave it her all, but how she could bear going into work that week, faking all that space ghost sex, I have no idea.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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  20. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Indeed, "Sub Rosa". That episode is just as bad as that one! Why don't they leave the vampire, ghost, spirit, or whatever episodes to the people who have a talent for it, IE not anybody making scripts for Star Trek, that's for sure!
     
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